posted www.TheMeck.com - photo courtesy.
THE MECK REPORT .. May 6, 2006 - 2:52pm - updated.
" The only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead animals."
More scoop than Baskin Robbins / More up-to-date than yesterday's newspaper.
LANDON MEETS BOBBY COX .. ALSO A STUDIO VISIT WITH ERNIE JOHNSON JR.
Meck Notes ..
Bobby Cox - The Great Encourager and BEST Mgr. in the game.
His people and leadership skills are off the charts .. maybe only equaled by Coach Bear Bryant.
Bobby Cox knows the game .. but knowing people is his Number 1 attribute.
Bobby Cox has always treated me with respect and always made me feel welcome.
He's a great listener .. and I believe he could even encourage me to hit 300 ..
even though I can only play my radio.
If you're down .. There's no better friend to talk with than Bobby Cox. He's a real blessing.
Often I've said to Bobby .. If I ever go to the electric chair .. I want to have my last meal with you.
At least I'll have a smile on my face and feel good about it.
Flashback to 1974 my senior year at Dothan High School.
Our Quarterback was Number 9 - Phillip Brazell .. He could flat play.
What an Incredible arm. The same can be said of his son Landon.
Incredible arm and can run like the wind. [He can still throw a football 75 yards in the air.]
A great Quarterback/Athlete at DHS just like his Dad.
Landon pitched for Alabama and Troy.
He signed with the Marlins, summer of 2005 and pitched for Mike Mordecai
in Jamestown, New York and late 2005 for the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
I interviewed him at the Homerun Derby [in Dothan] Feb. 2006 with his mom, Susan.
The Marlins released him in late March 2006.
His mother called me .. A wonderful mom.
I thought a lot of Landon's Dad - Phillip .. now in heaven.
I wanted to reach out and help.
He was going to 'get a job' like most people were telling him.
But I told Landon .. " You've got a job .. You're a baseball pitcher.
Plus ..You have a mother who backs your dream 1000 percent."
"They're going to have a hard time drafting you from the real estate league.
Take the Independent League offers and don't give up. Make your Dad proud.
Follow your dream Landon .. unlike most people."
[ First week of April - 2006]
I called Mgr. Bobby Cox in Los Angeles .. told him about Landon and what a great young man he is.
Plus I shared with Bobby what Mike Mordecai said .."Meck .. Landon can pitch in the Big Leagues."
I asked my friend and Braves skipper to talk with Landon's teammate
[at Bama] Braves Pitcher Lance Cormier.
Bobby did that and much more. What a wonderful man to reach out and give hope to a longtime dream.
Turner Field - Apr. 29, 2006 - 5:45p [Photos www.TheMeck.com ]
Bobby Cox visited with my friend .. pitcher Landon Brazell.
Bobby spent 10 mins. visiting and encouraging Landon who continues
to follow his dream [starts with the Evansville Otters/ Independent League on May 9th.]
[I sent Bobby the Edwin Stanton/Dothan Eagle article on Landon - Apr. 27]
We also visited with Landon's good friend and teammate [at Bama] Braves Pitcher Lance Cormier.
Plus Braves Pitcher Kenny Ray, who made it to the Majors from the Independent League.
No Doubt .. Lance really thinks the world of Landon Brazell .. his friend and fellow pitcher.
Landon's mother Susan, his biggest fan, was also hanging out with us.
Of Note .. Lance asked Landon .. ' Which player would you like to talk with?'
Without hesitation, Landon said ' Kenny Ray. '
Kenny shared with Landon .. ' Never Give Up. The Independent League is a
good League to be in. Hang in there and follow your dream.'
Kenny Ray should know .. He is the Poster Man for following your dream.
excerpt on Kenny Ray from ajc.com/David O'Brien - Apr. 12, 2006]
An Atlanta native who pitched one season at Roswell High School he was the 497th player selected in the 1993 draft (by Kansas City) and bounced through 15 teams in 13 leagues, ranging from the Gulf Coast Rookie League to the Mexican Winter League to something called the CanAm (Canadian-American) independent league.
Along the way, there was a cameo in the American League — Ray had an 8.74 ERA in 13 games for the Kansas City Royals in 1999, when hitters went 23-for-50 (.460) against him with six walks and no strikeouts.
That was before he had two shoulder surgeries (the first one "didn't take") and missed most of three seasons (2000-02). His wife, Randi, and the shoulder woes might have been the best help to his career.
Randi, an accountant in Peoria, Ariz., where the Rays make their home, always offered assurance as he continued his dogged pursuit of a pitching career — even when he earned less than $2,000 a month in the minors and the couple had to budget to feed their baby and pay the mortgage.
"I wouldn't be here without her," he said.
Meanwhile, his long recovery from shoulder surgery forced him to improve his change-up to compensate for the lost velocity. He honed the pitch, and his fastball has since returned to his pre-surgery 92-94 mph range.
It's a combination that could make Ray a viable closer candidate.
--excerpt on Kenny Ray from ajc.com/David O'Brien - Apr. 12, 2006]
I introduced Landon to the legend Walter Banks .. The most powerful man in Atlanta.
Walter has achieved everlasting fame and fortune simply because he serves people.
Walter Banks .. 40 years reaching out and helping others.
My longtime friend Rodney Stone sat with us.
We went down [outside the locker room] after the game with Lance Cormier's wife .. Jamie.
She is a sweetheart 4 sure. [Rodney entertained everyone.] Great to see Skip Caray.
Pam Cox and daughter Skyla gave me a hug. Wonderful family.
They are definitely partial to Number 6. He walked out and said hello and goodnite.
A long drive to their farm - 1 hr. and 20 mins - one way.
Then Lance and Jamie invited us to The Varsity.
It was packed and so was I when I departed for The W.
I was ready to point my toes toward heaven.
Sunday .. We went back to the yard .. had Sunday School with Walter Banks.
Bobby left us seats behind the dish. He's Always TCBing.
What a wonderful and blessed weekend.
photos - www.TheMeck.com
Apr. 29, 2006 - 3:30p. - TNT NBA Studio. [Before Sat. nite baseball game]
My friend Rodney Stone said earlier that week .. "Meck .. I'd love to meet Ernie Johnson."
So I called Ernie and he said ..' Come on by .. Be at the gate at 3:30.
Our Halftime show starts at 4p.'
It was a privelege to visit on the TNT Set with Ernie Johnson Jr. ..
A wonderful man who I was blessed to work the PGA Championship
with along with Bobby Clampett. [Plus the NFL on TNT with Ernie in 95.]
Rodney Stone - Producer of The Pistol Movie also visited with EJ.
Ernie was so gracious to promote the movie and even engage Charles re Pistol Pete.
They even showed a live shot of us on TV - Help me Rhonda.
I really enjoyed meeting Charles Barkley.
Ernie said to Charles .. ' See the guy in the hat .. That's my friend from Alabama.' [Dothan]
Charles said .. ' Get over here .. I want to meet the guy from Alabama.'
Charles was very gracious and so was Kenny. No doubt .. They respect and love EJ.
They are an awesome team.
Thanks Brie 4 your kindness. You are a great hostess.
Thanks for taking care of The Meck, Rodney Stone,
Christopher and Jenn Rowe and Darrel Campbell.
It was nice meeting Drew Watkins .. Donald's son.
He creates/writes teases for the NBA show on TNT.
After the Halftime show .. We were leaving the building [ felt like Elvis] ..
We had been treated like royalty.Thanks to Ernie.
He took the time and came outside [his microphone still on his tie] and said goodbye.
Thanks Ernie for taking T I M E to include us in your life and busy schedule.
You are a real blessing. Thanks for your kindness thru the years.
Ernie Johnson Jr. has been a blessing to so many across the nation.
Please pray for Ernie as he battles cancer.
Thanks for remembering him and his family.
Filed by The Meck .. May 6, 2006 - 2:52pm - updated.
Connect .. www.TheMeck.com